More about the medical specialty of psychiatry....⬇️
- Psychiatry is the branch of medicine concerned with disorder of the mind and/or brain. Mind and brain are (respectively) the interface and physical organ that we use negotiate our environment. Together, both mind and brain define our personality structure and regulate thinking style, perception and emotion (and ultimately, our behaviour). They give rise to complicated psychological defences, our communication style and ability form and maintain relationships with other human beings.
- Take the analogy of the cardiovascular system. The heart serves to pump blood but it also responds to what is going on outside the heart via an array signalling mechanisms. Similarly, the mind and brain monitor what is going on inside and outside the person through the nervous system. The brain and mind are arguably more complicated in that they hold memories of what has happened to the person over a lifetime and this adds an extra layer of complexity.
- Things can go wrong with both mind and brain. Such problems are related to how a person interacts with their environment. It can be difficult to change or exert control over our environment and therefore psychiatry has traditionally focussed on brain and mind rather than changing a persons' environment and relationships.
- Major disturbance in the mind and/or brain over a period of time combined with difficulty in negotiating ones environment can contribute to severe mental disorders such as major depression, psychosis, anxiety and personality disorders. People diagnosed with these disorders have severe impairment of their ability to think, communicate and behave appropriately such that they are unable to to manage the ordinary demands of everyday life.
- An objective stance and specialist training can improve understanding such problems partly because both our own and others’ opinions can be somewhat biased.
- Body is attached to the brain and dysfunction in our physical health can often impact our mental health. This is a "two way street" and dysfunction of mind/brain can also affect how we experience our body.
- Good psychiatrists are unique in that they are trained to address all dimensions (biological, psychological and social) and provide treatment that integrates all of these elements in a meaningful way.
- Psychology is the study of human behaviour. Seeing a psychologist can be equally helpful for some people. I often recommend that seeing a psychologist is a good first step for those seeking treatment for a defined (i.e. recognised/known) problem with living.